In 2012, the National Shoe Retailers Association reported footwear being a $48 billion industry operating from more than 29,000 stores. As such, retailers must have a marketing plan in place. In such a competitive market, you want to figure out what sets you apart from the competition and focus your marketing plan with that differentiation in mind.
An Online Presence Is a Must
Today, having an online presence is a must for any successful business. Many people begin their shopping experience by checking out styles and designs online. If they can’t find and browse your shoes in an efficient manner, it is likely they will move on to another company that offers what they are looking for.
In addition to a good website, creating a strong social media presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest enables you to interact and connect with customers. These social media platforms also provide an inexpensive way to offer specials to your followers.
Know Your Target Market
To start, you need to understand your target market. If you manufacture and sell top quality boots for work or outdoors, your target market is not going to be the stay-at-home mom. You will want to focus your marketing toward individuals and companies that work in industry, manufacturing, or farming. If you design high-end fashionable heels, you would look to put advertising energy into top fashion magazines or online blogs.
Make the Most of Your Customers
Use your happy customers. Often, your happy customers and their word-of-mouth recommendations can be your best advertising option. Consider offering incentives to customers willing to recommend your business. With Facebook and Twitter, it is easy for a well-written post or tweet to attract attention, and before you know it, your business is being seen.
To stand out above the competition, many footwear companies are now offering customization. When customers can make and design shoes with exactly the style and colors they want, they are often more than willing to share their designs with others and promote your business and your line of footwear. This option creates a winning situation for both your business and the customer.
Partner With Fashion Companies or Blogs
To stretch their marketing budgets, many small companies often partner with complementary companies to share marketing costs. As an independent shoe retailer, finding a clothing company that matches your footwear style often creates a well-matched partnership. For example, a store specializing in Western wear may partner with a maker of cowboy boots. A small manufacturer of basketball shoes may partner with a local uniform company and both go to sponsor a local youth sports team. Reach out to fashion bloggers and see if they would be interested in sharing a review of your shoes with their followers.
As a footwear manufacturer or retail business, you want to find ways to set yourself apart to make the most of your marketing budget. Not all these techniques will work for every business. Experiment and find out what works for your product and your business.